Campana’s two-run walk-off blast beats Staten Island 5-3


Campana’s two-run walk-off blast keeps Spinners on a roll.

Two first-place teams were facing off at LeLacheur Park on the Fourth of July. The Staten Island Yankees, tied with Brooklyn for the lead in the McNamara division, and the Lowell Spinners went at it. The Spinners not only have the best record in the New York Penn League, but they also own a six and a half lead over the rest of their division in the Stedler. For the second game in a row, Lowell was sending a pitcher to the mound seeking his first win of the year. Aldo Ramirez got the call and Nick Ernst was the Yankees starter.

Coming into this series, both teams entered with a run differential of plus 35. Meanwhile, the Spinners were leading the league in runs scored with 86. This is, believe it or not, the first time that Lowell has played at home on the holiday since joining the Penn League. Maybe the middle of the afternoon start had something to do with the slow start by the Lowell defense. The Yankees leadoff batter, Oswald Peraza, led the game off with an infield single into the shortstop hole. He advanced to second on a passed ball by the next hitter Everson Periera. After Periera struck out looking, the third hitter in the Yankees lineup, Jacob Sanford, hit a ground ball to third baseman Nick Northcut. His throw to first sailed high and allowed Peraza to score from second. The unearned run gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead before the Spinners came to bat.

Lowell (15-4) answered in their half of the first with back to back doubles by Alex Erro down the right-field line and then by Gilberto Jimenez down the left-field line tied the game at one apiece. One out later, Jimenez moved to third on a wild pitch from Ernst. He scored on a slow ground ball to third off the bat of Joe Davis. It was 2-1 Spinners after one.

After the first inning scoring, the game settled down into a bit of a pitching duel between the two starters. The Yankees tied the game in the fourth on a solo home run by Carlos Narvaez over the wall in left off of Ramirez. The home run was the first of the season for Narvaez. Ernst’s day was done after three and a third innings. He would leave with a man on and two out in the fourth. His replacement from the bullpen was Keegan Curtis. Ernst would leave with a no-decision (4 H, 2 R, 3 SO 0 BB). The Spinners went to their bullpen as well. Ramirez went four and gave up five hits, two runs, one earned, four strikeouts, and no walks. He was relieved by Jeremy Bleich to start the fifth.

Lowell went back to the pen after getting one inning from Bleich and Ryan Fernandez was brought on to begin the sixth. Fernandez got into a little trouble in the sixth. A leadoff walk to Sanford was followed by a single to right off the bat of Andres Chaparro to put Sanford at second with no one out. Fernandez settled down and retired the next three hitters to get out of the inning.

Lowell’s sixth was a bit more to the home crowd’s liking. Xavier Legrant got it started with a single to right. With Erro at the plate, Legrant was thrown out trying to steal second. Erro would then walk, as would Jimenez, to set up a first and second chance. Jaxx Groshans then flew out to centerfield for the second out. But, Joe Davis came through with a RBI single to left scoring Erro to give the Spinners the lead again at three to two after six.

The Yankees (11-8) went back to their pen with one down in the seventh. Tim Hardy was brought on to keep the game close for Staten Island. He was able to do that and the same could be said for Lowell’s pen as they went four shutout frames. But in the ninth, the Yankees tied the ball game up facing the third Lowell pitcher out of their pen, Jose Larer (1-0). Narvaez single to center and in came pinch runner, Isaiah Pasteur. Pasteur stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. He was driving home by a sac fly to right by Alex Junior. The game was tied at 3-3 going into the bottom of the ninth.

The Yankees fourth pitcher of the game was Bryan Blanton (0-1) who started the ninth by getting the first two hitters of the inning. But a walk to Northcut got him into trouble. The next man up was Marino Campana who made the base on balls pay off. He launched a ball to deep left over the wall for a walk-off home run. It was his third of the season on a pitch he called a “fastball” after the ball game. The Spinners walked off for the second time this week and are 4-0 on the homestand.

Campana talked after the win and said he “feels good, and like being here”. This team is hungry to win. Manager Luke Montz talked about the mindset of this team saying “they feed off of each other and nothing seems to bother them”. On the game-winning home run, the manager said Campana “got a good pitch to hit, and knew what to do with it”. Larez got the win and Gallardo took the loss (0-1).

The Spinners will try to make it five in a row on the homestand when they face the Yankees on Friday night with first pitch at 7 pm.

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